Elections

Judge says U.S. Senate race larger than her, Grassley

Democratic challenger makes stop in Cedar Rapids

Democratic U.S. Sen. Candidate Patty Judge speaks during a campaign stop at the The Blue Strawberry Coffee Company in Ce
Democratic U.S. Sen. Candidate Patty Judge speaks during a campaign stop at the The Blue Strawberry Coffee Company in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Call her the Chicago Cubs of Iowa’s U.S. Senate race, Patty Judge says.

“Well, they won last night, so I’m glad to be the Cubs,” the Democratic challenger said Thursday morning in Cedar Rapids after speaking to about 40 supporters at the Blue Strawberry Coffee Co.

Like the Cubs, Judge is trying to break a 36-year Democratic drought in the race to defeat Sen. Chuck Grassley. Sticking with the baseball analogy, State Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, who finished behind Judge in the party’s primary said in his introduction that it might seem like Judge is down three games to one, “but we can still win this.”

She has to win, Judge told supporters “because we need to make a change in Washington.”

“The people in Iowa know that Washington isn’t working. It’s devolved into partisan politics and a lot of gridlock and obstruction,” Judge said. “It’s time for people to get back to work.”

Grassley, she said, has been part of that “way, way too long.”

“He has become part of that institutional problem and when you’re part of the problem you’re not part of the solution,” she said.

The election is about more than her and Grassley, said Judge, who emailed a fundraising appeal Thursday citing a Quartz News assessment that her race is second in importance only to the presidential race.

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“The most important U.S. national election on Nov. 8 is for the presidency. But the second most important contest, at least symbolically, is Republican Sen. Charles Grassley’s re-election bid in Iowa,” according to the website qz.com.

“We’re talking about this democracy, we’re talking about the strength of our court system and we’ve got to defend it,” Judge said.

The good news, she said, is that Hillary Clinton “will be a great president, but we’ve got to give her some help.”

Judge is to debate Grassley at 4 p.m. Friday on WHO radio, but because it is so late in the campaign, she doubts it is going to make much difference in the race.

Judge plans to spend the final five days of the campaign barnstorming around Iowa to make her final argument for sending her to the Senate.

“The gridlock and the obstruction we see today is responsible for the problems we see — a national debt of $20 trillion, the soft economy, stagnant wages, a Social Security fund that could turn upside down,” she said. “These are serious issues in front of us and they are not being addressed. There’s just a stonewalling going on in Washington.

“That has to be put down and the way you put it down is to have some new blood in the halls of Congress,” Judge said. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm for that message.”

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